Re: Respect for Upstream Authors and Snippets of Interest
Barak Pearlmutter said on Fri, Sep 26, 2003 at 07:31:14PM -0600,:
> In a recent message to this list, RMS mentioned that people had stated
> that Debian would remove all non-modifiable but removable text from
> Debian packages:
If Debian does not, somebody else will, and I guess that this is what
RMS wants to prevent.
> includes a bunch of such snippets, all of which are included---right
> now---in /usr/share/emacs/21.2/etc/. All of them are removable: sex.6
> (which is of questionable taste), GNU, CENSORSHIP (which is dated into
> such irrelevance that its inclusion is arguably embarrassing),
> LINUX-GNU (whose first sentence misleadingly reads "The GNU project
> started 12 years ago"), COOKIES (whose relevance, copyright status,
> and humor value is unclear), etc.
I became aware of the concepts of free software, Debian, the FSF and
the real meaning of 'free as in freedom' on doing some follow up
reading after coming across other files in this very same directory
(while using another distro). According to the consensus on this list,
these files do not deserve to be in Debian, the OS.
But, do please consider this situation :- If those files were
modifiable / removable, and if somebody did, in fact, modify them, and
I (or any other user) had come across that distro, I would never have
turned to Debian. Please consider this fact while those packages /
docs are being moved out to non-free.
> Debian does require the *right* to remove such snippets.
Sure. Not only the snippets, but also the invariant sections in a
GFDL'ed doc. But rights specific to Debian are not DFSG free.
So the rights to modify will have to be granted to everybody. And one
bad apple in that 'everybody', who would most likely have much money &
marketing power *might* remove the philosophy and political parts, and
create their own distros bereft of the 'free as in freedom'
'pontifications'. ;) This problem cannot be wished away by dual
licensing these docs under GPL.
On the other hand, the Debian Community has very valid points to
object to the GFDL, It will be difficult for Debian to make
concessions specific to copyrights held by the FSF. Any body can use
the invariant sections to include unpalatable messages.
RMS has a point when he argues that it is not sufficient to have free
software. We need to constantly remind everybody about those
freedoms. To that end, it is essential to educate users and every body
else about the freedoms, and utilise every opportunity to spread the
word. Paving the way for removal of the political/ philosophical
messages about freedom in software of the kind published by the FSF
would be counter - productive to the free software community (and
therefore, Debian itself) in the long run.
I think the only way out would be to create a separate section for
GFDl'ed docs with invariant sections named something like GFDL-doc or
doc-semifree (or whatever - nonfree is harsh and unwarranted term).
Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,
'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,